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Full text of "National poetry recitation contest : program guide"

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FORTHE ARTS 

and 
THE POETRYFOUNDATION 

present 



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POETRY 


MID ATLANTIC 

ARTS FOUNDATION 


NATIONAL 
ENDOWMENT 


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FOR THE ARTS 


FOUNDATION 


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Letters of Welcome 




The memorization and recitation of poetry have been central elements of 
education since ancient times. By studying and reciting poetry, students 
learn to master language as well as develop skills in public speaking. This 
practice also helps build a student's self-confidence and expand his or her 
knowledge of great literature. 

Poetry recitation as a competitive event is as old as the Olympic 
Games. Along with wresding, long-distance running, and the javelin toss, 
the ancient Olympics included contests in music and poetry. Performers 
trained for years and traveled great distances to the games. Now, more 
than two thousand years since the Olympics began — and after a few silent 
decades — the recitation contest returns. 

Learning great poetry by heart develops the mind and the 
imagination. By encouraging your students to study, memorize, and 
perform some of the most influential and timeless poems of the English 
language, you will be immersing them in powerful language and 
provocative ideas. 

Learning to recite poetry also invites personal growth. Although 
many students may initially be nervous about reciting in front of their 
peers, the experience will prove valuable — not only in school but also in 
life. Much of the future success of students will depend on how well they 
present themselves in public. Whether talking to one person or many, 
public speaking is a skill people use every day in both the workplace and 
the community. 

To recognize excellence, the National Endowment for the Arts and 
The Poetry Foundation will provide winning students with honors ranging 
from official award certificates to a $1,000 cash prize. 



"c^a^H^^ 



Dana Gioia 

Chairman 

National Endowment for the Arts 



ii NATIONAL POETRY RECITATION CONTEST PROGRAM GUIDE 



Can there be any subject more difficult to teach in the classroom than 
poetry? Students who take their culture at the speed of the Internet may 
not accept a measured, majestic poem that comes down to us from the 
past. But a great poem has much to tell if we can find a way to listen. 
It will speak to us and for us, giving voice to times of great joy or great loss. 
As we grow older it will grow with us, waiting to give new meaning to our 
deepening experience. "Why should I study this poem," the Internet-sawy 
student may ask, "let alone try to learn it by heart?" And we may answer, 
"Because it is a chance to make a friend for life." 

The National Poetry Recitation Contest brings new energy to an 
ancient art by returning it to the classrooms of America. The public 
recitation of great poetry is a way to honor the speaker, the poem, and 
the audience all at once. Hearing a poem spoken aloud, we discover 
that a poem is before anything else an event of the ear. In the hands 
of the poet our everyday speech becomes a musical instrument. The 
meaning of the poem, we find, lies as much in the sound of its words 
as in their sense. 

Hearing the spoken words of the ancient poets, we learn that we 
are not alone, that men and women always have felt as we feel, that the 
human spirit has been the unchanging constant in the history of our kind. 
Hearing the voices of our contemporary poets, we learn again that we are 
not alone, that in our individuality we are a community. The Poetry 
Foundation is excited to join with the National Endowment for the Arts 
in the National Poetry Recitation Contest. 




QftfiA S^~ 



John Ban- 
President 
The Poetry Foundation 



NATIONAL POETRY RECITATION CONTEST PROGRAM GUIDE Hi 



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NATIONAL 
ENDOWMENT 
FOR THE ARTS 



The National Endowment for the Arts is the largest annual funder of the 
arts in the United States. An independent federal agency, the NEA is the 
official arts organization of the United States government, dedicated to 
supporting excellence in the arts — both new and established — bringing 
the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. 



POETRY 




The Poetry Foundation is an independent literary organization 
committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. The 
Foundation publishes Poetry magazine, sponsors a variety of public 
programs, and supports creative projects in literature. 



FOUNDATION 



MID ATLANTIC 

ARTS FOUNDATION 




Mid Adantic Arts Foundation celebrates, promotes, and supports the 
richness and diversity of the region's arts resources and works to increase 
access to the arts and cultures of the region and the world. 



Additional copies of this publication can be ordered on the NEA 
Web site at www.arts.gov. 



This publication is published by: 
National Endowment for the Arts 

1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW 
Washington, DC 20506-0001 
(202) 682-5400 




Voice/TYY: 

(202) 682-5496 

For individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. 




Individuals who do not use conventional print may contact 
the Arts Endowment's Office for AccessAbility to obtain this 
publication in an alternate format. Telephone: (202) 682-5532 

Design by Fletcher Design, Inc./Washington, D.C. 
PJQ This publication was printed on recycled paper. 



Contents 

Program Overview 1 

Preparation 3 

Suggested Class Schedule 5 

Practice Checklist 7 

Contest Guidelines 9 

Contest Evaluation Sheet 11 

Winners List 13 

NCTE English Language Arts Standards 14 



NATIONAL POETRY RECITATION CONTEST PROGRAM GUIDE v 



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Langston Hughes (1902-1967) 



PROGRAM OVERVIEW 



The National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with The Poetry Foundation, has 
created this curriculum for the National Poetry Recitation Contest. The contest will follow 
a traditional pyramid structure. 

Beginning at the classroom level, winners from each class will advance to the school-wide 
competition and will be sent an official award certificate by the Chairman of the National 
Endowment for the Arts. If fewer than six classes are participating in your school, two stu- 
dents from each class will advance to the school-wide level. If six or more classes are partici- 
pating, only one student from each class will advance. 

The participating teachers in your school should coordinate the school-wide competition. 
Ideally, the competition should be held as a full-school assembly, so even the students who 
do not participate will have a chance to hear the recitation of great poetry. One winner 
from each school will be selected to advance to the Regional Recitation Finals. Those 
students will be given a special plaque. (Washington-area students who advance to the 
Finals will also receive a pair of season tickets to the Folger Poetry Series.) 

One winner and two runners-up will be selected in each region. The grand-prize winner 
will receive a $1,000 cash award, and the two runners-up will each receive $500. The 
winning student's school will receive a $2,000 stipend for the purchase of poetry books, 
and the schools of the runners-up will each receive $1,000 for poetry books. 

The schedule and curriculum for the National Poetry Recitation Contest have been inten- 
tionally designed not to pre-empt other classroom activities and curricula. After the initial 
instruction, teachers should be able to continue with other lessons while dedicating a por- 
tion of each class to preparation for the contest. 



Note: The above prizes are offered for the pilot programs in the Washington, DC, and Chicago areas in the spring 
of 2005. The prizes do not apply to other pilot programs. 



NATIONAL POETRY RECITATION CONTEST PROGRAM GUIDE 1 



My candle burns at both ends; 
It mill not last the, night; 

But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends- 
It gives a lovely light. 



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Kdna St. Vincknt Mil, i .ay (1892-1950) 



PREPARATION 



Read the poems. The students should have their own copies of the contest anthologies. 
Either as homework or a classroom activity, have the students spend time reading through 
the anthologies in search of poems they will memorize. 

Ask each Student tO ChOOSe a poem tO memorize. At the classroom level, each student 
must choose one poem of ten or more lines to memorize and prepare for recitation. Each 
student should choose a poem with which he or she feels a personal connection. 

DiSCUSS the poems. Understanding the text is the most important preparation for reading 
poetry aloud. If the performer doesn't understand the text, neither will the audience. Begin 
preparation with a class session of discussions concerning the students' selected poems. 
(Dictionaries may be necessary for this activity.) Depending on class size, it might be wise to 
divide the students into groups of six to eight for the discussions and text analyses. 

Have Students memorize the poems. Share these memorization tips with your students: 
1. Rewrite your poem by hand several times. Each time, try to write more and more of it 
from memory. 2. Read your poem aloud before going to sleep at night, and repeat it when 
you wake up. 3. Carry around a copy of your poem in your pocket or bag. You'll find many 
moments throughout the day to reread or recite it. 4. Practice your poem by saying it to 
family and friends. Make sure to give them a copy so they can prompt you if you miss a 
line or word. 

Model recitation Skills. The teacher should model both effective and ineffective recitation 
practices, asking students to point out which elements of the performance are successful 
and which are not. On the board, develop a list of bad habits that distract the audience 
or take away from the performance, such as fidgeting, monotone voice, inaudible volume, 
mispronunciations, and (the most common problem) speaking too quickly. Now develop 
a list of elements that a successful recitation performance should contain: eye contact with 
audience, voice inflection, sufficient volume, evidence of understanding, pronunciation, 
and an appropriate speed with the proper pauses. 

Practice the poems. Allow class-time for students to practice their poems. Break the class 
into pairs of students (rotating at each session). Have each student practice with his or her 
partner. Partners should offer constructive criticism, using the checklist on page seven for 
their critique. 



NATIONAL POETRY RECITATION CONTEST PROGRAM GUIDE 3 



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Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- 

I took tJie one less traveled by, 

And that has made all the difference. 




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WEEK I • Read and discuss the poems in class. 

(2-3 full classes) 

• Have students choose poems to memorize. They should look up all 
unfamiliar words in the dictionary, making sure they understand and 
can pronounce every word and phrase. 

• Encourage students to make helpful notes onto the copies of their poems. 
(1 full class) 

• The teacher should model effective and ineffective recitation practices. 
(1 full class) 

• Have students practice their poems with partners. 
(15 minutes per day) 



WEEK C • Have students continue to practice their poems with different partners 

each day. They should also work on their memorization and performance 
outside of school. By the end of the week, students should have their 
poems completely memorized and be able to recite them without help. 
(15 minutes per day) 

• Hold the classroom recitation contest at the end of the week. 
(1-2 full classes) 



WEEK O • Winners of the classroom contests will prepare an additional poem for 

recitation, and will perform both poems in the school-wide competition at 
the end of the week. This preparation can be done outside of classroom 
time, under the teachers' guidance. 



NATIONAL POETRY RECITATION CONTEST PROGRAM GUIDE 5 



Because I could not stop for Death, 
He kindly stopped far me; 
The carriage held but just ourselves 
And Immortality. 




■■ 




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Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) 




PRACTICE CHECKLIST 



Volume 
Speed 



Voice Inflection 



Speak loudly enough to be heard by the entire audience. 

Speak at a natural pace. Most of us speak too quickly when we are 
nervous, which can make a performance difficult to understand. Speak 
slowly, but not so slowly that the language sounds unnatural or awkward. 

Avoid monotone recitation. If you sound bored, you will project that 
boredom onto the audience. You should also avoid using too much 
inflection, which can make the recitation sound insincere. 



Posture and 
Presence 

Evidence of 
Understanding 
and Pronunciation 

Eye Contact 



Stand up straight and attentively. Appropriate gestures and movements 
on the stage are encouraged, as long as they are not overdone. 

Be sure you know the meaning and correct pronunciation of every word 
and line in your poem. If you are unsure about something, it will be 
apparent to the audience. Don't hesitate to ask your teacher for help. 

Engage your audience. Look them in the eye. If you have trouble with 
that, look past them to the far wall, but try not to look down. 



Student Name: 



poor 


> 


average 


> 


excellent 


Volume 1 


2 


3 


4 


5 


Speed 1 


2 


3 


4 


5 


Voice Inflection 1 


2 


3 


4 


5 


Posture and Presence 1 


2 


3 


4 


5 


Evidence of Understanding 1 


2 


3 


4 


5 


Pronunciation 1 


2 


3 


4 


5 


Eye Contact 1 


2 


3 


4 


5 


Accuracy 1 


2 


3 


4 


5 



Photocopy as needed. 



NATIONAL POETRY RECITATION CONTEST PROGRAM GUIDE 7 



fs, . 73KWI 



o not go gentle into that good night, 
Old age should burn and rave at close of day; 
Rage, rage against the dying of the light 




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Dyian Thomas (1914-1953) 



CONTEST GUIDELINES 



At the competition, students should stand before the class (or the school) , introduce them- 
selves, and identify what they will perform. They should announce both the tide and the 
author of the poem they are about to recite. (They should say, for example, "This is 'The 
Lake Isle of Innisfree,' by William Butler Yeats," or "I will be reciting 'The New Colossus,' by 
Emma Lazarus.") As noted earlier, the poem must be recited from memory. 

Students who compete at the school-wide level will select two poems to recite. Students 
who advance to the regional level will need to have three poems prepared for recitation. 

The teacher will act as the judge using the following evaluation sheet. Select three to five 
teachers to judge the school-wide competition. Each judge should have a copy of the 
anthology in order to check the accuracy of the recitations. Add the scores from the judges 
to evaluate each performer. 



NATIONAL POETRY RECITATION CONTEST PROGRAM GUIDE 9 



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Countee Cullen (1903-1946) 



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CONTEST EVALUATION SHEET 



Name of Performer: 



Poem: 



Ratings 

1:Poor 

2: Below Average 

3: Average 

4: Very Good 

5: Excellent 



poor 


> 


average 


> 


excellent 


Volume 1 


2 


3 


4 


5 


Speed 1 


2 


3 


4 


5 


Voice Inflection 1 


2 


3 


4 


5 


Posture and Presence 1 


2 


3 


4 


5 


Evidence of Understanding 1 


2 


3 


4 


5 


Pronunciation 1 


2 


3 


4 


5 


Eye Contact 1 


2 


3 


4 


5 


Accuracy 1 


2 


3 


4 


5 



Final Score: 



Photocopy as needed. 



NATIONAL POETRY RECITATION CONTEST PROGRAM GUIDE 11 



We must uncenter our minds from ourselves; 
We must unhumanize our vims a little, and u 
As the rock and ocean that we xvere made from. 





Robinson J effers ( 1 887-1962) 




. 



WINNERS LIST 



Names of Winners: 



I — I Classroom winners 



I — I School-wide winners 



School: 



Address: 



Phone: 



Number of Participating Students: 



Name of Teacher: 



Signature of Teacher: 



Please return this form to: 

Recitation Awards 

The National Endowment for the Arts 

1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW 

Room 621 

Washington, DC 20506 



NATIONAL POETRY RECITATION CONTEST PROGRAM GUIDE 13 



NCTE ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS STANDARDS 



National Poetry Recitation Contest fulfills these standards: 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 11, 12. 



1 . Students read a wide range of print and non- 
print texts to build an understanding of texts, 
of themselves, and of the cultures of the 
United States and the world; to acquire new 
information; to respond to the needs 

and demands of society and the workplace; 
and for personal fulfillment. Among these 
texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and 
contemporary works. 

2. Students read a wide range of literature from 
many periods in many genres to build an 
understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., 
philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human 
experience. 

3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to 
comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreci- 
ate texts. They draw on their prior experience, 
their interactions with other readers and writ- 
ers, their knowledge of word meaning and of 
other texts, their word identification strategies, 
and their understanding of textual features 
(e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence 
structure, context, graphics). 

4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, 
and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, 
vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a 
variety of audiences and for different purposes. 

5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as 
they write and use different writing process 
elements appropriately to communicate with 
different audiences for a variety of purposes. 

6. Students apply knowledge of language struc- 
ture, language conventions (e.g., spelling and 
punctuation) , media techniques, figurative 
language, and genre to create, critique, and 
discuss print and non-print texts. 



7. Students conduct research on issues and 
interests by generating ideas and questions, 
and by posing problems. They gather, 
evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety 
of sources (e.g., print and non-print texts, 
artifacts, people) to communicate their 
discoveries in ways that suit their purpose 
and audience. 

8. Students use a variety of technological and 
information resources (e.g., libraries, 
databases, computer networks, video) to 
gather and synthesize information and to 
create and communicate knowledge. 

9. Students develop an understanding of and 
respect for diversity in language use, patterns, 
and dialects across cultures, ethnic groups, 
geographic regions, and social roles. 

10. Students whose first language is not English 
make use of their first language to develop 
competency in the English language arts and 
to develop understanding of content across 
the curriculum. 

11. Students participate as knowledgeable, reflec- 
tive, creative, and critical members of a variety 
of literacy communities. 

12. Students use spoken, written, and visual lan- 
guage to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., 
for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the 
exchange of information). 



14 NATIONAL POETRY RECITATION CONTEST PROGRAM GUIDE 



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A Great Nation Deserves Great Art. 



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D r\ C T D V MID ATLANTIC 

r \J t I ft T ARTS foundation 



NATIONAL 
ENDOWMENT 
FOR THE ARTS FOUNDATION